Defensive effort headlines highs in Chiefs’ win over Steelers

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Oct. 25, 2015; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston celebrate Hali's sack and forced fumble against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium. (Emily DeShazer/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Oct. 25, 2015; Kansas City, MO; Chiefs linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston celebrate Hali’s sack and forced fumble against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Arrowhead Stadium. (Emily DeShazer/The Topeka Capital-Journal)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers fought in a first half battle of field goals. A pair of second-half Kansas City touchdowns secured the win for the Chiefs over the Steelers, 23-13.

The Chiefs (2-5) won their first home game of the season and ended the five game losing streak skid.

As with the majority of Kansas City’s games this season, it’s been a tale of two halves. In those halves, Kansas City has done some things right and some things head shake worthy.

HIGHS

• The Kansas City defense came up with crucial turnovers on the afternoon.

Linebacker Derrick Johnson capitalized off a rookie mistake from Pittsburgh Landry Jones. Jones was intending to pass to wide receiver Martavis Bryant, but Johnson saw the play unfold and jumped into the air at midfield and managed to get his hands on the ball. Johnson returned the interception for 18 yards. Johnson’s interception was his first of the season and the 12th of his career.

Safety Eric Berry came up with an interception as well, his first since returning from his battle with Hodgkin lymphoma. The pass was intended for wide receiver Antonio Brown, but Johnson got a hand on the ball, tipping it. Brown couldn’t make a clean catch and tipped the ball again before Berry found himself to be in the right place at the right time and hauled in the catch.

• Second-year running back Charcandrick West received the handoff from quarterback Alex Smith at the 1-yard line. West flew into the end zone for his first NFL touchdown. West’s touchdown was the first Kansas City touchdown of the day and the third Chiefs offensive touchdown in the past four games.

West amassed 110 yards rushing, marking his first game with 100-plus yards rushing.

• Linebacker Tamba Hali busted through the Steelers’ offensive line on a crucial third down. The Steelers were facing third-and-7 at the Kansas City 18-yard line. Hali broke through and brought down Jones for a loss of 8 yards, forcing the Steelers to attempt a field goal.

Hali came through in the fourth quarter for a second sack of the game. This marked Hali’s first multi-sack game since Dec. 8, 2013.

• Rookie wide receiver Chris Conley, like West, found the end zone for the first time in his NFL career. With wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (concussion) inactive for the game, Conley stepped up and ended with 6 receptions for 63 yards receiving.

• Punter Dustin Colquitt continued to earn his paycheck. Colquitt punted three times, for an average of 54 yards per punt.

Over the season, Colquitt has averaged 47.8 yards per punt and totaled 1,625 yards punting.

LOWS

• Smith was sacked twice on the afternoon, moving his season total thus far to 25 sacks. Smith is on pace to be sacked 57 times on the season, which would put him at No. 12 all-time.

• In the first half, the Chiefs’ red zone offense did not exist. Kicker Cairo Santos was forced to attempt four field goals in the first half, making three of those four.

• Where in the world is running back Knile Davis? West has been getting the start, but when he went out for a play or two, running back Spencer Ware took West’s place. On the season, Davis has 16 rushing attempts for 40 yards rushing.

• Offensive lineman Eric Fisher was called for a taunting penalty, but replay showed he may have taken exception to a Pittsburgh defender holding on to running back Charcandrick West. Bad for the penalty, but good to see him sticking up for a teammate.

“I know we got a penalty on one, but I think you can see why,” coach Andy Reid said after the game. “He (Fisher) was really just protecting Charcandrick there.”

• Not necessarily a low, but certainly noteworthy. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was ruled out for the game due to a concussion he sustained during Week 6 at Minnesota. The move was precautionary, as head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder explained after the game.

“On Saturday morning, we checked with him and he was fairly good,” Burkholder said. “And we continued to monitor the situation between our docs, myself and Coach Reid. Then this morning, we took him through some testing again, which he did fine with, and it’s all part of the program.

“It’s not just pass the independent, pass the impact test. There’s a lot of layers to this thing, and we felt as a group that it was best to hold him. That’s what we do as a medical staff in the National Football League.”

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Amie Just is a contributing writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach her or find her on Twitter: @Amie_Just.

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